Where are the best matches for my child? [international, 3.95, swimming athlete, environmental science]


  • international student
  • State/Location of residency: Asia
  • Type of high school: Private
  • Gender/Race/Ethnicity: Female-Euro-Hispanic-Asian
  • Other factors: swimming athlete (Ivy D3 swimming)
    **Intended Major: Environmental science
    GPA, Rank, and Test Scores
  • Unweighted HS GPA: 3.95
  • Weighted HS GPA: n/a
  • Class Rank: n/a
  • ACT/SAT Scores: test optional

*IB: English, Math, Physics, Biology, Econ, Chinese Fluent in English, French, Chinese, German


*Swim team captain, Swim coach for Low Income NGO, Sports coach for disadvantaged children NGO, Leader of Everywhere Club, Natural/Regional swim competitions, Summer Job in Food and Beveragenclude leadership, summer activities
**Essays/LORs/Others: strong
**Cost Constraints / Budget; unconstrained
*Stanford, Berkeley, UCLA, Dartmouth, Williams, Carnegie Mellon, Amherst, Swarthmore, Pomona, Claremont, John Hopkins

  • Safety: McGill, Franklin and Marshall
  • Likely: Toronto, UCSD, UCSC
  • Match: Bowdoin, Berkeley, Claremont, Colby, Middlebury, Tufts, UCLA, Washington, Wesleyan
  • Stretch: Barnard, Carnegie Mellon, Chicago, Dartmouth, John Hopkins, Pomona, Stanford, Swarthmore, Williams
1 Like

My opinion…

I would move UCLA, Berkeley, Tufts, Claremont, and Middlebury to the stretch group. Maybe Bowdoin also.

I’m also not sure Franklin and Marshall is a sure thing.

Which “Washington” are you talking about?

*Stanford, Berkeley, UCLA, Dartmouth, Williams, Carnegie Mellon, Amherst, Swarthmore, Pomona, Claremont, John Hopkins you have these listed separately. They are all reaches…

This is a very top heavy list, in my opinion.

@AustenNut your thoughts?



I also think this is a very reach heavy list, I don’t see a true safety, and your matches are reaches.

You need to look at acceptance rates, not just average stats. And IMO going TO creates even more uncertainty for some of these schools.

If your child ends up being recruited, then it’s a different story. But based on academics alone, my opinion is your child needs actual safeties and matches.

And as a general rule, acceptance rates for international students are even more competitive. Many here on CC give the advice to take the published numbers and cut it by 1/2.


Any school with under a 20% acceptance rate is a reach for all unhooked students. So, all the matches are reaches, many of the matches have single digit acceptance rates.

I can’t remember why there’s not a test score but at some US schools it helps international students to have a strong test score, even if full pay (sometimes it’s more ‘expected’, especially if full pay).

Calculate her UC GPAs here:GPA Calculator for the University of California – RogerHub

@gumbymom should have acceptance rates by major for the UCs and can help categorize them for environmental sciences.

Hopefully some of the Canadian school experts will chime in.

Good luck and as you know the categorizations change if she is a recruited athlete at any of these schools.


What is her predictec IB score/score range?

1 Like

I do not see a budget. The UC’s will be Full pay at $72K/year with little to no financial aid (merit or need-based). Is this affordable?

UC”s are test blind and do not consider Race/Ethnicity.

If you are into Rankings for Environmental Sciences, then UC Davis and Santa Barbara should be on the list. They are ranked higher than UCLA and UCSD, with Davis just below UCB.

International admit rates for 2022.
UC Berkeley: 5.5% High Reach
UCLA: 5.8% High Reach
UC San Diego: 15.5% Reach
UC Davis: 43% High Target
UC Santa Barbara: 19.7% Reach

Environmental Science is found in the College of Letters and Sciences at UCLA/UCSB or in UC Davis case, College of Agriculture and Env. Science which do not admit by major. UCB’s Environmental Sciences major is in the College of Natural resources which also does not admit by major. UCSD admits into the University first and then into the major.

Overall admit rates for the Colleges 2022:
UC Davis College of Agriculture: 37.9%
UC Santa Barbara College of L&S: 27%
UC San Diego: No specific major admit rate so overall is 15.5%
UCLA College of Letters and Sciences: 10%
UCB College of Natural Resources: 20%

Environmental Science is not a high paying field for new graduates so make sure the that spending $288K for a Undergrad degree at the UC’s is worthwhile.

Best of luck to your Daughter.


Bowdoin, Middlebury and Colby seem to represent a good core for your daughter’s list based on her academic interests; Pitzer offers an alternative to Pomona; if your daughter might be interested in environmental policy, she should consider Hamilton.


Schools with single digit acceptance rates are not matches for anyone. Bowdoin, Tufts, Colby, Middlebury are all reaches. Just visit their acceptance pages on this forum this year and you’ll meet plenty of students with high stats like your child who were rejected/WL this year. It’s an easy mistake to make starting out developing a list. It seems like if you have the stats, you should get in. But 1000s of students apply with similar stats. These schools balance the incoming class based on wholistic factors. Meeting or exceeding the required stats is necessary but not sufficient.


What are her swim times?

1 Like

Error on post

Thanks for your collective feedback, I am amending the list, together with couple questions

  1. Should one apply these rulesacross the board, which seems to be suggested, including admit rates for foreign students (as in our case)
  • schools with admit rates below 10% Stretch: Stanford, UC Berkeley, UCLA, Dartmouth, Williams, Carnegie Mellon, Amherst, Swarthmore, Pomona, Claremont, John Hopkins, Brown, Barnard, Chicago
  • schools with admit rates 10-20%: reach: Bowdoin, Middlebury, Colby, Washington St Louis, Wesleyan, UCSD, UCSB
  • match: Franklin & Marshall, Toronto
  • safety: McGill, RPI
  1. is legacy or double legacy in a stretch school a hook, or is it completely negligible?

  2. Predicted IB scores are not released until the fall. expect 41-42 out of 45

  3. budget: unrestricted

1 Like

Western Washington would be a good safety, very strong in environmental sciences and your student could swim there.


Those are some impressive IB scores predictions! Is OxBridge on the table?

From your other thread the hope is to be able to pair competitive swimming with top-notch academics.

iirc, if necessary you are more willing to compromise on the swimming than the academics- is that right?

re: legacy, it very much depends on the school. Of the ones on your list, Dartmouth has a rep as being warmest to legacies- but 1) there have been suggestions that it is legacies who are also big donors and 2) legacy students are about 13% of the student population, which is typical for it’s peer group. The main thing is that they are likely to slow down when reading the app. It doesn’t sound like much, but when you consider that an app can have eyes on it for as little as 7-10 minutes (down from the ~15 minutes of past years), an extra 5 minutes can be meaningful!


Regarding Wesleyan, the acceptance rate for international students not requiring financial assistance was greater than its general acceptance rate based on the last information I’ve encountered.

1 Like

Seconding Western Washington for a safety, adding UVermont (Honors), UCSC, or if you want smaller, St Olaf, Lewis&Clark, Eckerd. You could choose one of each type to ensure a diversity of early acceptances. Among the LACs, StOlaf is strongest academically overall and especially in STEM, lewis&Clark is the “crunchiest”, and Eckerd is especially storng in marine science+gorgeous campus/beach.

McGill and Toronto are both near-safeties (McGill is another strong, certain safety if you apply to McDnald majors), as are U Washington (Seattle), UCD, and UBC, due to the combination of expected IB score and major. You could pick 2-3 from that list, too.

Then you’d be fine to add mostly reaches and take risks.

Franklin&Marshall is a safety if your daughter is recruited for swimming, otherwise she would need to demonstrate interest (ie., join the mailing list and click on links of interest within the emails they’ll send).

I’m not sure RPI would have the vibe you’d want. It’s more of a “fit” school. Very strong for engineering but not necessarily where environment science students would thrive. (WPI is better for that, if you want a science-focused school added to the above list.) If your daughter applies to 4-5 from the above, she should have enough decent acceptances as a safety net not to require adding RPI.
Basically, with 4-5 from the above, she can apply to the reaches&stretches she wishes.

Colorado College (specific curriculum/set up) and Bates are very strong in that area of interest.


Bowdoin and Colby both have overall sub 10% admit rates, and have for a number of years. Neither makes their international acceptance rates known, but Bowdoin is need blind for internationals so being full pay won’t be an advantage there as it might be at need aware schools.

Legacy impact varies from school to school. Your alumni association should be able to give you the details. For example at some schools, legacy is only a bump, or a relatively bigger bump, in the ED round.


OP’s recruiting thread is here: Swimming Recruiting for Int’l Jr. Targeting Highly Selective Colleges - #456 by NiVo


Bowdoin’s admit rate has been below 10% the last several years. It fell to 7% this year based on information they just sent out. Middlebury also appears to now be sub-10. Colby has been below 10 the last few years.

The admit rates for international students may be lower still.


At any earlier time, you reported an SAT score of 1480. This would place your daughter above the reported median at schools such as Bowdoin (1460) and Middlebury (1466). Is there a particular reason your daughter won’t be submitting her test results to colleges in this statistical vicinity?


The Bowdoin scores reflect the full set of matriculant’s scores for Class of 2026, whether the students submitted test scores with their application or applied TO and submitted scores upon matriculation (which Bowdoin still asks TO applicants to do). So, for Bowdoin we don’t have visibility to the mid 50% range of those using scores in the application process.

From their CDS:

Note from Bowdoin: The scores reported in this C9 section include all scores on record, regardless of whether the scores factored into admissions decisions.

For Middlebury, I agree with you, I would generally recommend sending a 1480.

1 Like